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PIP result
“Hi. Just wanted to say a big Thankyou. Completed my PIP form with the help of your guides. Sent it off on April 24th, I then had a text to say that the DWP had received written statement about a week and a half ago. Today I received money in my bank account then just received a letter to say I’ve got enhanced daily living and mobility for 10 years. Amazing so quick.”

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Dear Reader,

In this edition, we reveal that the government refuses to say how long telephone assessments will continue, even though the ban on face-to-face assessments ends today.

We learn that there has been a dramatic fall in the number of new PIP claims since the lockdown began.

And that PIP and ESA appeal numbers have also plummeted.

We reveal that hundreds of disabled claimants are jointly suing the DWP after being moved from legacy benefits to universal credit.

And we have a favour to ask.

If you’ve claimed, or tried to claim, PIP mobility component on mental health grounds we’d be really grateful if you would help other claimants by completing our brief survey.

Finally, if you missed them live, you can still watch recordings of our free webinars on changes to PIP as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

MINISTER REFUSES TO CONFIRM FACE-TO-FACE ASSESSMENT BAN WILL CONTINUE
Mystery surrounds how long telephone assessments for PIP and ESA are to continue after a government minister refused to give an answer today, as the ban on face-to-face assessments expires.

Face-to-face assessments were banned for a period of three months from 17 March to June 17 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic began to grip.

Instead they were replaced by paper and telephone assessments.

On 11 June, we reported that Justin Tomlinson, minister of state for disabled people, told MPs two days earlier:

“As previously announced, all face-to-face assessments for health and disability benefits were suspended from 17 March 2020 for an initial period of three months. We are currently in the process of reviewing this measure in light of the latest public health advice and will confirm next steps as soon as possible.”

However, when asked in writing again by an MP whether there were plans to extend the three month extension of face-to-face benefits assessments, Tomlinson responded today: “I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 9 June 2020.”

Given that the three months are now up, it is very surprising that no new statement has been made.

One possibility is that the DWP expect the social distancing rule to be reduced from 2 metres to 1 metre in the coming weeks, which would make face-to-face assessments possible again.

Another is that the DWP are looking at evidence as to whether telephone assessments lead to more awards of benefits or fewer, and will base any decision about how to proceed on whether it will cut the benefits bill.

Whatever is going on, we’ll let readers know as soon as there’s any further news.

 

DRAMATIC FALL IN NEW PIP CLAIMS
The latest statistics from the DWP reveal that there has been a dramatic fall in the number of people applying for PIP since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

In April 2020, there were 25,000 registrations for new claims. This is less than three fifths – 58% – of the level a year earlier and the lowest number since December 2013.

There is no explanation from the DWP for the drop.

But minister for disabled people Justin Tomlinson has suggested that difficulty in getting support from charities with the claims process during the lockdown may be an important factor.

In better news, the success rate for new claims rose from just 31% in February 2020, to 56% in April.

However, the DWP say that:

“During the first few weeks of the COVID-19 emergency measures, efforts have been made to clear residual claims in the system from before emergency measures began, giving rise to an initial spike in clearance volumes. This may have affected March 20 and April 20 Award Rates.”

So, although the award rate had increased, there is no way of knowing why this has happened.

We also can’t yet tell whether telephone assessments have led to a higher level of awards or not.

Things may become clearer in three months’ time, when the next set of statistics is released, if the ban on face-to-face assessments continues.

 

PIP AND ESA APPEALS SUCCESS RATE CONTINUES, BUT NUMBERS PLUNGE
The latest tribunal statistics show a continuing very high success rate for claimants, but a dramatic drop in the number of appeals being lodged.

From January to March 2020, there has been a 96% rise in UC appeals but a 77% drop in ESA appeals, as claims for ESA are replaced by claims for UC.

However, there has also been a 38% drop in the number of PIP appeals being lodged, compared to the same period last year, down from 27,000 last year to 16,700 this year.

The fall may be associated with the effects of the pandemic and the lockdown, although this did not occur until near the end of the quarter.

Success rates for claimants remain very high:

76% of PIP claimants won their appeal

75% of ESA claimants won their appeal

69% of DLA claimants won their appeal

64% of UC claimants won their appeal

 

275 DISABLED CLAIMANTS JOINTLY SUE DWP OVER UC
275 claimants who lost out after they were migrated onto universal credit (UC) from legacy benefits are jointly suing the DWP, solicitors Leigh Day have revealed.

The claimants were previously in receipt of the severe disability premium. They were migrated onto UC before January 2019, when the DWP introduced the Severe Disability Premium (SDP) Gateway system. This prevents claimants from being transferred to UC if they are entitled to SDP.

As a result of being moved, each of the 275 claimants has lost out on over £275 a month.

The claimants are asking for compensation equal to the amount of money they have lost following their transfer to UC.

Leigh Day believe that up to 13,000 claimants may be entitled to compensation.

 

CAN YOU HELP OTHER PIP MOBILITY CLAIMANTS?
Can you help other claimants by sharing your experience of claiming, or trying to claim, the PIP mobility component on mental health grounds?

After each free webinar we have run since lockdown, we have asked participants what other topics they would like webinars on.

Claiming PIP on mental health grounds has consistently come out as the favourite choice.

We’re not surprised about this. It’s a complex area of law and probably represents the biggest change between the qualifying criteria for DLA and PIP.

And we know that this is an area that assessors often don’t seem to understand or want to explore.

As respondents to our PIP telephone assessments survey told us:

She asked if I could walk whatever distance. I can physically but due to my mental state (agoraphobia, anxiety, panic attacks etc) no I can’t most of the time but Didn’t get a chance to explain because she fired another question before I could think. That was the same for most of it if not all.”

“Mostly not relevant to me - most of the questions were about mobility aids, but as I was applying based on mental health, it wasn't applicable. She didn't ask if I could go on public transport or plan a journey or follow a map etc. only if I could get to the car without falling over.”

We have created a survey on the subject with just 12 multiple choice questions, with the option to add more details if you choose.

Most people will complete it in under 5 minutes – though we’re more than happy for you to take longer if there’s lots you want to share.

Your experiences and insights will be used to help other claimants who are about to begin the claims process themselves.

You can start the PIP mobility survey by following this link:

 

PIP CORONAVIRUS CHANGES WEBINARS, WATCH THE RECORDINGS NOW
If you missed our webinars on the changes to PIP as a result of coronavirus, you can still watch the recordings.

The webinars deals with changes to claims, assessments and appeals as a result of the pandemic.

We have a webinar for claimants and carers and a webinar for support workers.

Both last for around an hour and are free to view. You don’t need any special software to do so.

You can watch the PIP Coronavirus changes webinar for claimants and carers here.

You can watch the PIP Coronavirus changes webinar for support workers here.

“I attended the Covid-19 webinar last week on behalf of the Western Isles Citizens Advice Service (WICAS). I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was concise but still informative, I felt that it was pitched at the right level and both presenters were very clear and easy to understand. I definitely felt a lot more confident about the changes than I did before and in my role as training Officer I’ve been able to pass this on to our advisers.”
Norah MacPhee, Training Officer, Lewis Citizens Advice Bureau (Western Isles)

“Thank you for the webinar on Friday, we found it very useful and it was very well presented. Plenty of valuable information that we can use to help us to advise clients during the Coronavirus pandemic.”
Natalie Keys,Training Officer, Cyngor ar Bopeth Gwynedd Citizens Advice

Good Luck,

Steve Donnison

 

BOOST YOUR PIP, UC AND ESA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY.

Give yourself the best possible chance of getting the right PIP, UC or ESA decision, whether you’re making a claim, renewing an existing award or asking for a reconsideration or appeal.

Subscribe now and get instant access to all our guides.

If you’re not already a member, join the Benefits and Work community before midnight on Friday and you can get 20% off the cost of your annual subscription.

Just type the following code into the coupon box when you pay: 84557

Claimants and carers get an annual subscription for £15.96, down from £19.95. Professionals get an annual subscription for £77.60, down from £97.00.
Offer ends midnight Friday

 

BENEFITS NEWS
Mystery surrounds telephone assessment continuation

Dramatic fall in new PIP claims

Appeals success rate continues, but numbers plunge

PIP coronavirus changes webinars, watch the recordings now

Face-to-face assessment ban being reviewed

275 disabled claimants jointly sue DWP over universal credit

Can you help other PIP mobility claimants by sharing your experience?

 

GOOD NEWS FROM THE FORUM AND BY EMAIL
With most PIP and ESA reviews and reassessments on hold and the number of new PIP claims plummeting, the forum is much quieter at the minute.

But, as always, many thanks to everyone who takes the trouble to post in the forum or email us with news of your success. We know it’s many readers favourite, and most encouraging, bit of the newsletter.

PIP at MR!
“Just wanted to say thanks to all…ive been in receipt of pip for few years now and now my partner has got his standard rate..he was originally given 0 points but got it on MR few days ago
neither of us could believe it...… Think we both still in shock!!! its all thanks to your fantastic advice and notes..So message to all dont give up the fight and miracles do happen!!!”


Finally! PIP result!
“Almost a year to the day, I received my decision letter on Saturday, and was awarded enhanced for both elements daily living and getting around. I'm one of the lucky ones I think, my telephone assessment was mainly carried out between the assessor and my husband who after an hour of answering the same questions over and over was getting confused. I managed to respond to a couple of the questions (the call was carried out on speaker phone at our end). For me communicating with strangers is incredibly difficult so the fact that the assessor was happy to talk with my husband was just as well. Anyway, all's well that ends well, but I mustnt go without thanking everyone for their patience, kindness and straight forward advice and information. Thank you x”

PIP appeal success
“Hi i would just like to say a massive thankyou to you all. I put my appeal for pip in january and apart from an acknowledgement that they had my appeal i had not heard a thing, i had asked welfare rights to help me when i appealed. I have been on middle rate living and enhanced rate mobility and missed out by 3 points on the living part on initial decision changed to 2 points short after it was looked at again, Out of the blue today welfare rights contacted me to say the DWP had contacted them and will now be giving me advanced rate of living backdated to december. Thank you so much for all your help and advice it has been invaluable, and gave me the fight to carry on with all this, i will be renewing my subscription because you do great things for so many people,
Good luck to all those who are still battling, keep going it can come good sometimes, just the news i needed after 12 weeks so far shielding from this awful virus with no sign of being allowed out soon.”

Thank you so much
“Following my recent change from DLA to PIP I just wanted to say thank you.
I have been on DLA middle rate care and high rate mobility for ten years. I have MS. Using your guides I submitted my form, diary and carers letter with my PIP application. Got a Home Assessment. Nurse was lovely and said due to my comprehensive application “this is just a formality “ Although having heard horror stories I was still concerned but she was true to her word and I have just received my award - albeit after a 14 week wait! Higher rate both for an ongoing period.
Thank you so much. There is little doubt using your website and all the advice really helped.”
Daniel

Thank you just doesn’t seem enough!
“As a newbie to the benefits system your website has been an invaluable resource site. The minefield of PIP and ESA forms, plus assessments are horrendous but your guides, advice and, the input from members has been an incredible help through what was already a very stressful situation. Enhanced rate for both Care & Mobility plus Support group for ESA (3yrs) this would not have been possible without you!
I wish B&W continued success. Thank you just doesn’t seem enough!”
Mandy

 

BOOST YOUR PIP, UC AND ESA CHANCES - 20% OFF ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT FRIDAY.
Give yourself the best possible chance of getting the right PIP, UC or ESA decision, whether you’re making a claim, renewing an existing award or asking for a reconsideration or appeal.

Subscribe now and get instant access to all our guides.

If you’re not already a member, join the Benefits and Work community before midnight on Friday and you can get 20% off the cost of your annual subscription.

Just type the following code into the coupon box when you pay: 84557

Claimants and carers get an annual subscription for £15.96, down from £19.95. Professionals get an annual subscription for £77.60, down from £97.00.
Offer ends midnight Friday

Good luck,

The Office Team
Benefits and Work Publishing Ltd
Company registration No. 5962666